When we become parents, we are constantly worried if the choices we are making for our children are the right ones and if we should or should not feel guilty. Sometimes those choices are for our convenience and to keep our sanity intact. Irrespective of how others judge you, you must stand by what works for you and your baby. Frankly speaking, a parent who is incessantly striving to be a perfect parent and forgets to take care of herself/himself is likely to have a major meltdown. So give yourself a break, chuck the guilt and strive to be happy so you can keep your child happy.
Here are 20 things you should not feel guilty about, but often do:
- Staying at home to be a full-time mum. Or putting your baby in day-care because you have to join back work. You got to do what you got to do.
- Not breastfeeding your child at all or not as much as your relatives/doctors say you should. It’s your body and mind so it is mainly your choice.
- Shifting your baby, who is not really little anymore, to another bed or another room.
- Not being a competitive parent like your neighbour whose daughter goes to a zillion extra-curricular activities.
- Wanting to be alone. No babies and no husband/wife. Everyone needs “me time”.
- Not keeping your house perfect all the time. Not because you don’t have time or are unwell. Just because you’d rather get that much-needed massage, watch TV, paint your toenails, write some poetry or just gaze into space.
- Getting upset with your child. Not an ideal scenario but let’s just say it happened and you screamed at your child. Calm down, chuck the guilt with a little “sorry” and cuddle your baby. End of story.
- Oh and screaming at your husband because your emotions are in a turmoil due to a new baby or a hyperactive menace running around the house. “Sorry” is really a magical word.
- Lying to your husband or in-laws that you are going to follow their suggestion on child-rearing. If you are devoting 90% of your time to raising a child, you are the boss. Period.
- Letting your child watch extra TV (very occasionally) so you can catch a nap or finish that assignment.
- Letting your child eat ice-cream or an order-in meal for dinner (occasionally again) because you’d probably burn the dinner in your fatigue.
- You definitely should not feel guilty about taking a vacation with only your husband or girlfriends, without your child. You are a parent not a hermit.
- Eating your child’s chocolates after he has fallen asleep. It’s fun to be a sneaky child sometimes.
- Not being gleeful about taking your child to the park. The most enthusiastic parents sometimes find themselves dragging their feet when it comes to this chore.
- Letting your child stay hungry because you want him to learn to eat by himself.
- Taking away a privilege because your child broke a promise or your Swarovski parrot.
- Breaking your own promise. You are human after all. Remember the magical word.
- Saying no to your child’s demands and then coolly watching them throw a tantrum. They should after all learn to deal with a “no”. Best learning starts at home.
- Let the siblings fight without your interference. This will allow them to learn to solve conflicts by themselves. (PS: keep a watch lest one of them starts throwing stuff in anger).
- Letting your child get bored at times. Sometimes, boredom is the mother of all ingenuity and self-understanding. Boredom also allows a child to appreciate fun times better.
Guilt is a constant companion of parents. We all second-guess ourselves and fear that we might be missing out on some parenting skill or action. The matter of fact is, every parent is doing their best for their child. What works for you and your child may not work out for another parent-child team, and vice-versa. So cut yourselves some slack and allow yourself to truly enjoy parenthood.